Gambling in Europe: where real online casinos are allowed


The gaming industry in Europe is developing rapidly, both in the offline and online segments, but not all countries allow the real online casino to conduct gambling. In some countries such games are illegal, in others, gaming clubs are strictly controlled by special regulatory authorities. And thirdly, gambling establishments are allowed only for tourists.

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Gambling Regulation in Europe

By the end of 2020, it is estimated that the total GGR of online gambling in Europe will reach about € 25 billion, and it is mainly will be created through sports betting, real online casinos and online lotteries. Poker income will be only 6%.

Each state has its own rules for regulating the gambling industry, and the attitude towards local and foreign operators is completely different. So, here is a list of countries where online gambling is currently allowed:

  • France
  • Malta
  • Switzerland
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • Spain
  • Belgium
  • Italy
  • Norway
  • Gibraltar
  • Netherlands
  • Portugal
  • Poland
  • Denmark
  • Russia

Gambling regulators in countries such as Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, Iceland, Luxembourg, Serbia, Slovakia do not apply any legal requirements to foreign clubs.

European countries in which the operator (both local and foreign) must apply for a license:

  • Austria
  • Great Britain
  • France
  • Germany
  • Belgium
  • Croatia
  • Finland
  • Netherlands
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • Bulgaria
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Poland
  • Romania

The following list shows countries that do not require a license from foreign online casinos. A local regulator license is required only for local operators.

  • Switzerland
  • Monaco
  • San Marino
  • Greece
  • Montenegro
  • Macedonia
  • Portugal
  • Slovenia
  • Hungary
  • Moldova
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • Ireland
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania

And in this list, you will see countries that do not impose any restrictions on gambling sites:

  • Albania
  • Malta
  • Andorra
  • Faroe islands
  • Kosovo
  • Liechtenstein
  • Belarus
  • Isle of Man
  • Gibraltar

How to get a license for conducting online casino gambling in Europe

The first online casino called Europa Casino appeared in 1996. Back then there was a real “boom” in the online casino industry. Since then, gambling is available not only in land-based gambling clubs but also online.

Each jurisdiction has its requirements for the issuance of gambling licenses. Below, you will learn about the features of the regulation of the gambling segment on the European continent.

Regulations in Latvia

In Latvia, the activities of gambling clubs are controlled by the Inspectorate for Supervision of Lotteries and Gambling. Besides, the regulated body issues a license, and also considers candidates for the position of institution manager.

To receive a document, you must adhere to the following conditions:

  1. The entrepreneur must register a joint-stock company in Latvia.
  2. 51% of the company’s management must have Latvian citizenship (or be a resident of the country).

There are several main types of licenses in Latvia. The cost of a license depends on the type of games and the chosen site. A document providing the right to conduct all types of legal games is estimated at €427 000. A license to open a slot machine club or bingo hall will cost from €4270, and the cost of a document for organizing sports betting company starts from €42 690.

To obtain a license to open your online casino, you must:

  • Fully pay the license;
  • An owner must be at least 18 years old;
  • Every year to renew and pay for licensing of the site;
  • Regularly install software updates;
  • Allow unscheduled inspections of the platform from independent companies.

Regulations in Malta

The licensee is LGA (Lotteries & Gaming Authority). In addition to issuing a license, the organization carefully monitors the implementation of business rules. The procedure itself is quite simple since local authorities created comfortable conditions for the development of the gambling industry in the country.

There are four classes of licenses in Malta:

  1. Class I license. This type of document is suitable for those operators who conduct games based on repeated events (for example, virtual casinos, lotteries).
  2. Class II license. It is issued to operators who provide online betting services (sports betting).
  3. Class III license. Class III permission is issued for advertising companies (this includes bingo, poker rooms, bookmakers).
  4. Class IV license. The document is intended for providers of software, online games, hosting services.

Tax rates depend on the class selected and the duration of the license. The price of a Class I license starts from €4660 (for the first half of the year), then the price will be €7000 (per year).

The cost of documents for betting is equal to 0.5% of income, and licensees of III and IV classes pay 5% of the profit. It is best to find out the exact cost from the gambling commission itself (since it may be changed over time).

The main documents required for the registration of a company include a receipt on payment of duty, a VAT payer number, a registered legal address and the name of the organization. Then, employees of the organization are approved, primarily financial and executive directors.

Regulations in Estonia

In Estonia, you can register both a land gambling establishment and online casinos. The casino is regulated by the Estonian Tax and Customs Board.

The licensing authority oversees the activities of companies that operate following the Gambling Act. They issue licenses and monitor compliance with all rules and regulations.

Currently, the regulator issues two types of licenses:

  1. A document that gives an entrepreneur the right to organize gambling.
  2. Document for the opening of land-based gambling clubs.

To obtain permission to carry out gaming activities, you must confirm the availability of material and technical base. Besides, there are requirements for authorized and share capital that must be followed.

Documents are issued only after contributing. The size of the fee depends on the type of gambling. Also, the entrepreneur pays a license fee, the amount of which is also determined by the category of games. Typically, the fee varies between €3200 – €47 940. And the cost of licenses for online casinos is €47 933,73.

Regulations in Great Britain

The gambling industry in the UK is developing very dynamically. Both ground-based establishments and online casinos function well in the country. To start legally carrying out gaming activities, you must obtain a license.

The issuance of documents is carried out by the Gambling Commission – (UK Gambling Commission, UKGC). In addition to issuing official licenses for the provision of terrestrial and online services, the regulator monitors compliance with the procedures and rules of all organizations and applies penalties in case of any violations.

The Sports Betting Intelligence Unit is a separate division of the commission. The authority oversees the activities of bookmakers that accept bets on sporting events. And for the lottery drawings, the National Lottery Commission is responsible.

The first license fee is 10,000 GBP, and the cost of the license starts at 25,000 GBP (the exact price is determined individually). Also, gambling operators are charged 15% of gross income.

To know the exact amount of the license fee for a specific type of activity, you can use the calculator on the official website of the gaming commission –

There are several types of gambling licenses available in the UK:

  1. Remote Gambling software (hardware license);
  2. Remote General Betting Standard – Real Event (license for games with bets);
  3. Remote Casino (online casino license).

According to the Law on Gambling, which was adopted in 2005, the equipment necessary for conducting online gambling activities must be located in the UK.

As we can see, each country that has legalized the work of the gambling sector puts forward its requirements for opening a gambling club and conducting real online casino entertainment.

Thanks to legalization, the national budget is substantially filled with funds that are used to finance social, humanitarian, cultural and sports projects. Budget revenues are created not only due to high taxes from the activities of operators, but also through the sale of licenses.

Along with this, strict restrictions and the presence of a well-established control system for gaming activities do not allow casinos and halls with slot machines to open on every corner.


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